The Conservation Federation of Missouri's (CFM) Share the Harvest program will expand to include shelf-stable venison in the years to come as Governor Mike Parson signed HB 1711 on July 14. The bill will allow shelf-stable venison to be used in more ways across the state to feed Missourians.
The previous statute required deer meat to be frozen and packaged. This bill allows it to be frozen or packaged in a shelf-stable manner such as snack sticks. As the statute states, only deer meat will be allowed to be donated to the Share the Harvest program administered by CFM.
"CFM has successfully run the program for almost 30 years, but not without the help of so many partners, including the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Feeding Missouri and their food banks, and other private business donors. We are looking forward to working with these partners to expand the program to include shelf-stable deer meat," said Tyler Schwartze, executive director of CFM.
Missouri deer hunters donated 348,535 pounds of venison to the state's Share the Harvest program this past deer season. More than 100 participating meat processors ground the donated deer meat into ready-to-use packages.
Since the program was started in 1992, Share the Harvest has provided more than 4.3 million pounds of lean, healthy venison to feed hungry Missourians, which included 6,795 whole deer last season. At a quarter-pound per serving, that's over 17 million meals Missouri deer hunters provide to their neighbors, since the meat stays within the local community where it’s donated.
"We are excited to see the program expand to include shelf-stable venison to help feed people across Missouri. Being able to include protein-rich meat to the backpacks of school children in need is just another way Missouri hunters can support their neighbors," says Scott Baker, Feeding Missouri's executive director.
CFM, which celebrates its 85th anniversary this year, was founded by a citizen-led effort to keep politics out of conservation and preserve our state's rich outdoor heritage. This effort that started in 1935 has pushed Missouri to be the top state in the nation for conservation.
CFM, the voice for Missouri outdoors, is the watchdog over politicians and state agencies to ensure the conservation of our wildlife and natural resources, and will continue to do just that with programs like Share the Harvest.
For more information about the Conservation Federation of Missouri, to support Share the Harvest, or to join in their citizen-led effort, visit www.confemdo.org.
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